Mike: Is this the week Nebraska’s offense gets untracked?
Jarek: If Sims is unavailable, can Haarberg look the part of a starting QB, causing a possible controversy in 1-2 weeks' time?
Andy: I mean if Haarberg throws for 140 yards with no fumbles, a TD and a pick, it’s a controversy. Because that’s probably a 14 point swing.
Nate M: We want a QB controversy.
Minnesota (+7.5) at North Carolina
Mike: North Carolina has a pretty stout offense...and the Goofers are pretty strong on defense. And prone to lay an egg in the non-conference part of the schedule. Like this week. Heels 23, Goofs 17
Jarek: North Carolina should be able to handle this without much consternation. The Gophers haven’t been exactly impressive despite being 2-0 on the season. Defensively Minnesota can/will give UNC some fits but doesn’t have the offense to help out. I say UNC even covers. Petey Pablo sings Raise Up in victory. UNC 27, Southern Canada Gophers eh 17
Andy: I’m gonna take the Minny cover on this one. I think North Carolina has enough offense to get the winning score at the end but they’re soft and Minnesota will frustrate the shit out of them. High Heels 23 Goofys 20
Louisville (-10) vs. Indiana
Mike: Tom Allen gets plenty of ridicule - and for good reason. But the Hoosiers have looked a little better than anticipated this season. This goes against my grain, but I’m thinking upset. Hoosiers 28, Looey’ville 24
Jarek: I don’t totally agree with Mike, but Lee Corso says this one will be closer than the experts think. Indiana has looked improved this year, but a familiar face awaits them in Jeff Brohm. I say Louisville (pronounced Louis-ville) 31 Indiana Jones 27
Andy: I am way more impressed by Indiana’s 23-3 loss to Ohio State than Louisville’s 39-34 win against the Yellow Jackets which looks more like a red flag. I’ll take the Hoosiers straight up. Whose Ears 27 Loo-ville 22
Virginia Tech (+7) at Rutgers
Mike: My word... how bad are the Hokies? Rutgers 31, Pokies 24
Jarek: Virginia Tech looked...not great last week against the trains of the big ten. Rutgers is back to being slightly less hideous under Schiano again, so we’ll see what that entails. Buttgers 27 Va Tech 14
Andy: Rutgers beat…Northwestern and Temple. I feel like betting on them based on that is the equivalent diving for that dollar bill hooked to a fishing line dangled out the 2nd floor window of the Fiji house. Va Tech 23 Rutgers 15
Nate M: Purdue surprised last week with a win over Virginia Tech. Rutgers will double up on it.
Syracuse (-2.5) at Purdue
Mike: This one seems like easy money, but maybe Purdue’s Ryan Walters has the magic tough with defense to pull off an upset. Maybe? Maybe not. Big Orange 31, Choo-Choos 23
Jarek: Purdon’t hasn’t exactly been chugging along at home this season, losing its only home matchup to Fresno St to open the year. Syracuse is always an out of season better tasting fruit in the non-conference. Give me some Sunny D. Syracuse 21 Purdon’t 17
Andy: That Boiler loss to Fresno is tough, but the Syracuse blowout against Western Michigan looks sort of limp as well. I’ve gotta pick one favorite to cover this week, so we’ll go with the Orange although with much less offense and the under. The ‘Cuse 26 Shot & a Beer 17
Nate M: If Purdue wins, then are they are the darling of the terrible B1G West?
Northern Illinois (+11) at Nebraska
Mike: Northern Illinois started the season with an upset victory over Boston College...then lost to 1-AA Southern Illinois. Meanwhile, the Huskers basically have gifted the first two weeks to their opponents by turning over the ball. If that happens for a third week in a row, the boo-birds will be out in force. But I think the Huskers have a coming out party in Lincoln. Big Red 35, Huskies 6
Jarek: Home sweet home. The Sea of Red finally gets to cheer, until volleyball comes back to Memorial Stadium. It has been a wonderfully painful kick in the nuts for Big Red. Giving away a win to Minnesota should be a tax write-off for charity purposes, while not watching Daddy kill Ralphie makes me hate the football version of A Christmas Story even more. Don’t sleep on NIU, because they have caused pain (or in my case blood clots) when they win on September 16th in Lincoln. Nebraska doesn’t fall for that here and my leg will feel fine. Huskers 34 Northern Illinois 20
Andy: It’s tough picking this not knowing who the QB is. If Sims has a high ankle sprain, Haarberg gets the start because Sims passing is currently so awful, it’s almost criminal to trot him out to fix it without his best weapons at 100%. And even with Sims fully healthy, starting Haarberg right now is a 14-17 point swing if he just plays average with one turnover. (See Tuesday’s 24 Hour Rule for my suggested solution with a healthy Sims.)
Therefore, here’s two quick picks (although there are other scenarios, let’s go with the most likely based on current results):
- Sims starts, plays to current form and Rhule let’s it go on in front of what predictably turns into a hostile home crowd (9-17, 111 yards, 2 picks, 15 carries 78 net yards 3 fumbles 1 lost): Blackshirts stay the course against a bad Husky offense, hold down the win in OT but the temp on the QB position is reaching Chernobyl levels. Huskers 16 NIU 13 OT
- (Likely - as of now) Haarberg starts, flashes the speed in a run-heavy package, throws a couple of highlight-reel bullets as well as two or three awful tosses, one for a pick. Let’s call it 10-23, 139 yards, 1 TD, 1 pick, 11 carries, 70 yards rushing (but -27 sack yards cuz that’s back) and 1 TD but…Huskers 27 NIU 3.
Nate M: Haarberg is going to start. They are going to load the box. Nebraska is not going to be able to run the ball and will lose on a defensive touchdown by Northern Illinois. NU 7 - NIU 10.